The Language of the Fan

Resting closed fan on the right cheek - Yes

Resting closed fan on the left cheek - No

Fanning with left hand in front of face - I wish to meet you.

Fanning with right hand in front of face - Follow me.

Drawing the open fan slowly across the cheek - I like you.

Placing the tip of the closed fan to the lips - I love you!

Slowly open and shut fan - Kiss me.

Fan presented shut - Do you love me?

Very slowly shut the open fan - I promise to marry you.

Twirling fan in right hand - I am watching you.

Twirling fan in left hand - I love another.

Shaking closed fan - You are very improper!

Quickly open and shut fan - You are cruel.

Touching closed fan against the left ear - Go away!

Drawing the fan through the hand - I hate you!

Gazing pensively at closed fan - You misunderstand me.

Drawing open fan sideways across the eyes - I am sorry.

Clasping hands under open fan - Forgive me, I beg of you.

Touching tip of the fan with index finger - I must speak to you.

Opening the fan to show a certain number of sticks - At this hour.

Covering the left ear with open fan - Do not betray our secret.

Fanning quickly - I am engaged.

Fanning slowly - I am married.

Holding fan open wide - Wait for me.

Placing open fan over the heart - You have my heart.

Placing closed fan against right temple - I'd like to see you again.

Placing the fan behind the head - Do not forget me.

Fanning with little finger extended - Goodbye.

Waving with closed fan - I wish to always be near you.


Adapted from James McKay's book Fans: Ornaments of Language & Fashion